Mrs. Riley says that this recipe may be halved and baked in a 13″ x 9″ baking dish at 350° for 40 minutes or until bubbly. She also recommends fresh herbs (when in season) instead of dried. To avoid extra chopping, she sometimes steeps sprigs of fresh herbs in the milk as it comes to a boil (this takes about 10 minutes). She then removes the herbs from the hot milk, adds the grits, butter, and salt, and cooks the grits as directed before assembling the casserole.
Makes 14 to 18 servings.
8 cups milk, divided
1 tablespoon salt $
2 cups uncooked stone-ground white grits
1 cup unsalted butter
4 large eggs, lightly beaten $
2 teaspoons dried dill weed, thyme, or sage or a combination of the three (or 2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs)
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Cheddar, Gruyère, or Swiss cheese or a combination of the three, divided
6 slices bacon, cooked until crisp and crumbled $
Combine 6 cups milk and salt in a large, heavy saucepan; cook over medium-high heat just until milk starts to boil. Gradually whisk in grits and butter. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 20 to 25 minutes or until thick, stirring often.
Preheat oven to 350°. Remove grits from heat; add remaining 2 cups milk, stirring to cool grits mixture. Stir in eggs, herbs, and 1 cup cheese. Pour grits mixture into a lightly greased 15″ x 10″ baking dish; top with remaining 1 cup cheese. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 45 minutes or until bubbly. Sprinkle crumbled bacon on top of casserole; serve immediately.
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